Moorish Lamb Espadas with Recado Rojo and Lemon Allioli

Metric version of recipe

Yields 8 portions

Ingredient Amount
For the recado rojo  
Annatto seeds, finely ground ½ cup
Oregano, dried and ground 1-1/2 tsp.
Cumin, ground 1-1/2 tsp.
Black pepper, freshly ground 1-1/2 tsp.
Allspice, ground ½ tsp.
Cloves, ground ½ tsp.
Cinnamon, ground ½ tsp.
Salt 1 Tbsp.
Roasted garlic, puréed 1 Tbsp.
Sour orange juice 1 cup
Olive oil, extra virgin 1 cup
Canola oil 1 cup
Lamb loin, sliced ½ inch thick 2 pounds
For the lamb skewers  
Skewers, (9- or 10-inch) 8 ea.
Kosher salt 1-1/2 tsp.
Black pepper, freshly ground ¼ tsp.
Lemony Allioli 1 cup


  1. Make the recado rojo: Whisk together all of the ingredients for the recado rojo. Toss with the lamb in a medium bowl and cover, or place in a zip-close bag, and refrigerate overnight. If using bamboo or wooden skewers rather than metal ones, soak them in water overnight.
  2. Make the lamb skewers. Drain the excess marinade from the lamb. Thread 5 pieces of the marinated lamb onto each of the skewers. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Preheat a charcoal grill to medium-high heat, or build a fire with coals and let it burn down until the coals are glowing red with a thin coating of white ash. Spread the coals out in a single layer.
  3. Grill the skewers on both sides until dark and char crust forms, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve each skewer with a generous tablespoon of the lemony allioli.

Additional tips

Recipe credit: Norman Van Aken, as presented at the Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved. Served at the World Marketplace on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006.

© 2018 The Culinary Institute of America